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Hindu leader urges Oklahoma schools to mark Hindu holy day as school holiday

A Hindu leader is urging Oklahoma schools, public as well as private, which have significant number of Hindu students, to include Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, as a school holiday in their 2015-2016 school calendars and beyond.

Rajan Zed (pictured), president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, issued a news release Monday regarding this issue.

Zed, of Nevada, said it is not fair for Hindu students and their families to attend school on their most popular festival while many schools in Oklahoma are closed on some other religious holidays.

Diwali is several months away. It falls on Nov. 11 and besides Hindus, it is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists.

In his statement, Zed said holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion.

Rajan Zed stressed that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, “we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and it would be a step in the right direction.”

Zed also said awareness about other religions thus created by holidays like Diwali is good for Oklahoma students, making them “well-balanced and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.”

He said

Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November 11 in 2015.

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor

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Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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